* * * * *
* * * * *
As we got through the blasted door and into the smoke filled passageway, the station's alarms started to blare warning of possible fire. No kidding, I thought to myself. Jax was limping so I gave him my shoulder to lean on and we made our way coughing towards the lifts. "We have to get to my ship now," I told him between hacking breaths.
When we got to the lift lobby the smoke was cleared from our lungs and I was able to fake panic to the station's emergency response crew running towards us. "Something exploded back there!" I yelled at the one in front with fire extinguisher and air mask. He nodded and started to run towards the smoke and a second responder stopped to ask "Where are you hurt?"
"A burn on my friend's leg," I told him, "I'm taking him to the infirmary." The EMT took a quick glance at our burns and flashed a light into our eyes, pulling back a little when my left mechanical eye shone back at him. He nodded, flashed him badge at the lift controls, and told us "Deck 4" as the doors closed.
I pushed the button for deck 10.
* * * * *
We got into my quarters and I rushed Jax to the entrance to the umbilical to my ship's crew entrance. At least I had the foresight to request it connected before I left because some stations take a while to get around to hooking it up for small ships that typically have no passengers.
"Can you make it in there and strap yourself into a couch?" I asked Jax.
"Yeah, I think so," he answered between gritted teeth. He face had a grey pallor and sweat beaded his forehead. "Just don't ask me to run a marathon."
"OK," I said as I left him there and trotted over to the pod gantry. "Hurry up because it won't be long before they realize it was your room and you're missing and we're not in the infirmary."
I tore off my clothes and put them into the pod's small cargo slot, then climbed into the pod's seat. I willed myself to be patient and still while the connections were made and my reality shifted to the enhanced capabilities of the pod's electronic senses. I wondered if we were fast enough or if our undocking request was going to be refused. But they can't refuse, I assured myself, CONCORD capsuleer protocols don't allow it... I hope.
As my pod inserted into the Dramiel I activated the internal ships comms. "You make it in yet?"
"Yeah, yeah," came the strained reply. "Where's your first aid kit in this thing?"
"Fuck if I know," I replied impatiently, "I tend to fly the ship from here."
"I whacked my head on this bulkhead! Who designed the interior of this thing anyway?"
"Goddammit, Jax, just get strapped in!"
I heard muttered cursing and then, "Ah, got it. It was under the bunk."
"I DON'T CARE!"
"FUCK RELAX! I'm strapping in a second! Just need to put some medigel on this burn..."
The insertion of the pod completed and I ordered my ship to detach the umbilical and sent a request to Station Control to disembark.
:ONE MOMENT PLEASE:
Oh shit, I thought to myself, not now, not when we are so close...
The wait seemed to last forever. I had visions of being stuck here and being assaulted by more goons from the Guristas. If I could sweat in the pod, I would have been sweating bullets right then.
The ship lurched along with my heart beat as station tractor beams guided it out of its berth. :CLEARED FOR UNDOCK: the station's AI reported.